Weekend Cleanup

With such a busy week, even the weekend provides us with the opportunity to clean up news from the remainder of the week…

NOLAN RADIO AND THEN SOME: We were mostly playing around last week when we were speculating about the radio future of now-former Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3 morning news co-anchor Mark Nolan.

Though that speculation intersected with changes at CBS Radio AC WDOK/102.1, now known as “New 102”, it turns out Mark’s return to radio will take place at a different location – not at One Radio Lane, but at 6200 Oak Tree Boulevard.

News started getting out Friday when Clear Channel Cleveland staffers openly congratulated Nolan on Twitter for an unspecified gig in that Independence building… and it didn’t take long for us to uncover what that gig will be.

Mark Nolan takes over the midday shift (10 AM-2 PM) at Clear Channel classic hits WMJI/105.7 “Majic 105.7”, starting February 6th.

Though the outside press release wasn’t due until next week, our friends at Oak Tree recognized the Cat Was Out Of The Bag (between us and a note from the folks at Cleveland Magazine), and issued that release on Friday.

And it reminds readers that despite a long tenure as a weather forecaster and news anchor at WKYC, Nolan has not at all been a stranger to radio:

He has been guest hosting on the station since 1995 and for nearly seven years Nolan’s weather forecasts were broadcasted during the Lanigan & Malone Morning Show. He has worked in a variety of positions, both on-air and in production, with roles throughout Ohio at WNIR and WKDD in Akron and WZKL in Canton. Nolan also spent 18 years on-air at NBC Affiliate WKYC TV. He is a Cleveland native and a graduate of Kent State University.

Nolan will replace Chuck Collier, Cleveland radio legend, who unexpectedly passed away on September 22, 2011. Collier spent nearly 40 years on-air in Cleveland as part of sister station, WGAR, and WMJI since 2005.

“I’m looking forward to sharing ‘Cleveland’s Greatest Hits’ with Northeast Ohio on a daily basis,” said Nolan. “I have a passion for radio and I am honored to join such a great heritage station in my hometown.”

Of course, that part about replacing Chuck Collier needs an asterisk, as the midday shift on WMJI was actually a second voicetracking job to Chuck’s main role as afternoon driver at country WGAR/99.5.

And in that role, Oak Tree has also announced that fill-in Shotgun Taylor will take WGAR’s afternoon drive slot, and will be permanently heard 2-7 PM weekdays.

Another asterisk here, of course, as “Shotgun Taylor” (as even readers of the Cleveland Plain Dealer now know) is the on-air persona of WGAR program director Charley Connolly…who started voicetracking the station’s evening show in April 2010.

The station says long-time WGAR voice Kat Jackson will be now be heard 7 PM to midnight, though it doesn’t say where she’ll be based.

Kat actually worked at WGAR for a number of years, before heading to sister Washington DC market country station WMZQ as its assistant program director/night personality. She left that station in August

PUPPET JOURNALISM: When we heard that the folks at Reserve Square have been using puppets to re-enact portions of the corruption trial of former Cuyahoga County commissioner Jimmy Dimora, the item almost started writing itself.

Yes, Raycom Media’s Cleveland TV news circus, WOIO/19-WUAB/43’s “19 Action News”, had its newest act. And we’re no stranger to chronicling those acts right here in your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm).

But it’s not quite as simple as that, and “19 Action News” actually has some admirers in the journalistic community for “The Puppet’s Court”…and that’s saying something.

Oh, sure, not everyone’s on board…like associate professor Randy Reeves of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, who tells the Plain Dealer’s John Caniglia:

“It’s entertaining … it’s professionally done, but it’s not news…This is a line I wouldn’t cross. The visual distracts from some pretty serious stuff. Even at the end of the newscast, it’s puppets. I can’t get past that.”

But others make the broader point: in 2012, the federal justice system does not allow cameras or microphones into the courtroom, long after most local jurisdictions have routinely allowed them.

Rubber City Radio VP/information media and long-time OMW reader Ed Esposito makes the point on the website of the Radio-Television Digital News Association:

We should consider the irony that much of the government’s case against Mr. Dimora was built on the same type of technology citizens are denied in seeing justice at work; recorded telephone conversation, video surveillance, the use of computer programs to track transactions and contracts are tools the people’s government (and the defense) have available to present their case. But the tool of the people — the media, through its reporters — cannot use the recordings or actual testimony of those involved because it’s in federal court.

Or as Ed says later:

No free and open society should tolerate someone else pulling the strings otherwise when it comes to the public’s justice system. That is, unless we’re comfortable with the image of Big Bird sending folks to the Big House.

As a local newsie, Esposito is certainly no stranger to the antics at Reserve Square over the years, noting the station’s “aggressive style” in the RTDNA piece.

But he says he has “great respect for the creative vision that uses one of the oldest forms of entertainment (and satire) to not only portray details surrounding one of the biggest public corruption cases to hit Ohio but also make a statement on the federal judiciary’s long-outdated insistence that public understanding of justice is still rooted in the time of Johannes Gutenberg and now the technology employed a thousand years ago by storytellers: puppetry.”

Since it is “19 Action News” we’re talking about here, we’re only surprised that the Puppet Prostitute portrayed in one of the “Puppet Court” segments kept her shirt on…

SPEAKING OF ED: …who’s about to get “Ed’s Corner”, much in the style of another long-time Friend of OMW, WKSU public relations/marketing guru Ann VerWiebe…

Esposito, a veteran Northeast Ohio broadcast journalist, has long had ties with the aforementioned Radio-Television Digital News Association and its educational arm, the Radio-Television Digital News Foundation.

After serving as chairman of both RTDNA and RTDNF, Ed stepped down from direct involvement with the organization…for a while. But he’s back as secretary/treasurer of the RTDNF.

Not that Ed isn’t busy enough, of course, overseeing all news operations for Akron-based Rubber City Radio Group, which owns news/oldies WAKR/1590, rock WONE/97.5 and country WQMX/94.9 in Akron, the news website AkronNewsNow.com, and its latest addition, Cleveland market smooth AC WNWV/107.3 “The Wave”.

The RCRG West Market Street newsroom provides Cleveland news and traffic to “The Wave”, and has recently added its weekly public affairs program “Spectrum” – with a regionally-expanded focus – to the WNWV airwaves.

WNWV itself is temporarily broadcasting from a West Market Street production studio, until making the physical move to a new Independence studio sometime in the spring…

TV CAROUSEL: No, the Carousel of TV Changes hasn’t stopped going around this week.

The latest news on the TV side of things is a word of a new 12 noon co-anchor at Local TV LLC Fox affiliate WJW/8’s “Fox 8 News”.

She’s Jennifer Jordan, a New York City TV market veteran most recently seen on CW network affiliate WPIX/11, who’s also been seen on nearly all the other major New York City news operations over the past 10 years.

The New York Daily News had first word of Jordan’s move to Cleveland, and says she’ll start at “Fox 8 News” on January 30th…

TRY, TRY AGAIN: Clear Channel in Cleveland now has a second construction permit for its attempt to mount an FM translator at 99.1.

Long-time OMW readers know that the translator was given the approval to make the move…first from its Lorain-licensed site (W262BN/100.3) to a temporary turn-it-on-for-one-day location in North Ridgeville (W259BI/99.7), to the eventual permanent home for what will apparently become W256BT, the 250 watt 99.1 faciility on the tower of Clear Channel sister station WMJI.

“Not so fast”, the FCC said after issuing the 99.1 construction permit the first time.

That CP was rescinded with a request for more technical documentation, and last week, the newly revised application got another FCC approval.

Though absolutely no information has even been rumored locally, it appears somewhat likely that Clear Channel intends to add 99.1 as a presence on the FM dial for talk WTAM/1100 (“Newsradio WTAM 1100…now on 99.1 FM!”).

Clear Channel has made a number of similar moves recently in other markets, using FM translators to get heritage AM talkers on the FM band with a second signal.

In other markets, the company has blown up underperforming full-power FM stations to provide new FM homes for AM talk formats (Sacramento’s KFBK is the most recent example)… but that’s not an option in Cleveland…

BYE, BYE, MCFLY: A veteran weekend personality at a local country station is heading south.

But it’s not another radio job that has Rubber City Radio country WQMX/94.9 personality George McFly heading for new vistas in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

George’s wife has accepted a new position there with her company, so Saturday, the WQMX personality said “farewell” to his audience, as he’s heading to Arkansas with his family next week.

McFly has certainly had a high profile at the Akron market country powerhouse, and not just on weekends.

George was a regular fill-in for WQMX’s “Wynn & Wilson in the Morning”, and was often called on to work middays, afternoons and nights during the week.

He also served as the videographer and photographer for station events and concerts, and helped the station launch its social media presence.

George McFly tells OMW:

“I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the Rubber City Radio Group. To have an owner who supports live and local radio is so awesome.

I need to thank Ken Steel for hiring me and Program Director Sue Wilson for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the success of WQMX.

I will miss my WQMX family and the great listeners who have made me a part of their lives for many years.

Our listeners are one-of-a-kind.. it’s great getting calls from listeners to see how my kids are doing, share things about their life or just to say Hi.

I leave here with so many great memories and hope to one day return to the area. Keep it Real & Keep it Country!”

George can be reached via E-mail, Facebook and Twitter. And in his new Arkansas home market of Fort Smith, McFly hopes to continue his career in country music radio…

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3 Responses to Weekend Cleanup

  1. 74WIXYgrad says:

    Regarding McFly, he was a real breath of fresh air, taking ownership of the airwaves every time he was on. Not your everyday fill in guy and will be missed.

  2. arthur says:

    I am glad to see that some of the A M broadcast is available to me on the F M dial.. W T A M has a reception problem here in Mentor,Oh. being a 50,000 watt power house doesnt help if the antenna pattern is changed or power is cut at night ,to not interfere with the other 1100 kz stations on that freq. Coast to Coast radio show is hard to get at night,I have to tune to C K L W Windsor ,Canada to listen to it..!! W T A M is losing a listener because of this.
    Also what happened to the simo cast of years ago ,where you could listen to the A M station on the A M dial ,and listen to the counter part on their F M sister station with the same call letters on the F M dial ??

  3. david gluck says:

    per cc websites, ACTION JACKSON and Tom Kent follow mark Nolan on Majic 105.7. Chuck Collier tribute, Shotgun and Kat go 10a, 2p and 7pm on WGAR.

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